A fellow checking the craigslist want ads could not take his eyes off a black 21-speed Fuji Road Bike on sale for $280. That's because he was convinced it was his black 21-speed Fuji Road Bike, valued at $450 and recently stolen from the front yard of his Huntington Beach home.
That set in motion a chain of events that not only led to Denis Yoshio Cruz Ramirez's arrest, but a possible looming deportation hearing for the Costa Mesa 23-year-old.
The unidentified bike owner called the number on the craigslist ad, set up a meeting to see the bike in Costa Mesa with a fellow who identified himself as Denis Ramirez and then called Costa Mesa Police, according to a statement from that agency's Lt. Paul Dondero.
Before heading to the meeting in the 700 block of West Wilson Street, the unidentified bike owner met with a plainclothes officer, who learned more about identifying features on the bike that was stolen Jan. 7 (and for which a police report had been taken out with the Huntington Beach Police Department), Dondero said.
The plainclothes officer then took the owner's place at the phony sale meeting, where the cop identified attributes of the stolen bike, asked Ramirez some pointed questions and then arrested the salesman, according to Dondero. The bike's real owner was then asked to come over and identify the bike, and he mentioned a light and seat bracket were missing. Dondero says Ramirez led officers to the missing items.
He was booked into the city jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property, and additionally held on an immigration hold, said Dondero, who added that while the victim was grateful he got his bike back, he requested his name not be released to the press.